Read + Review: Dragon Captives by Lisa McMann

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In this new branch off of the popular Unwanteds series, the newly introduced twin “magicians,” Thisbe and Fifer, venture off to an unknown land to right their wrongs once and for all. The Unwanteds series followed Alex, the young magician and quickly assigned head mage of the magical land of Artimé. Thisbe and Fifer are his previously unheard-of sisters, who have grown into twelve-year-old girls since they were found by the wonderful inhabitants of Artimé as babies. After Thisbe inflicts a fatal blow on one of the magical creatures in the jungle of Artimé, they are “fortunate” to find a mission the now crippled head mage declined to embark upon. The helpful young dragons Alex had befriended needed new wings and maybe even a way to escape the slavery the Artiméans were previously unaware of. Thisbe, Fifer, and their best friend Seth sneak out to save the dragons; their easy lives suddenly shocked into reality by the harsh environment of the dragons’ land. They go through an array of adventures (most of them ending poorly), and in the end two heroes are lost, though maybe not forever.

This book was very good, though it wasn’t the spectacular debut book I had expected from this author and her branch off of one of my favorites series. In the book, it is said that Thisbe and Fifer would grow up to be the most powerful mages in all of Artimé, despite their older brother’s careful restriction of their magical education. However, I still found it hard to believe that, after only seeing the spell done once, Thisbe could’ve performed one of the most difficult spells ever created, while it took Alex many dozens of tries to execute it correctly. This was a minor plot flaw, but it was probably necessary in order for the story to keep moving at the fast pace it was already going. Overall, this was very entertaining and makes me eager to read the next installment.

Something I found touching and interesting in this book was how much Alex constantly longed for the support of his love, Sky. She was gone picking up the pieces of a leaderless civilization on her home island, and Alex deeply wanted her back in Artimé during every stressful situation. This shows how much he really depended on her, and unlike a romantic novel, he didn’t have to constantly be expressing that for the reader to understand. This was a beautiful relationship that had to be paused because of Sky’s commitments to her homeland, but that didn’t stop this aspect of the novel from becoming truly memorable.

Reviewed by Isabella, Grade 6, Twin Hickory Library

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